EFFINGHAM, Ill. – Guests at the annual Corvette Funfest Charity Event raised funds for the newly established David R. McLellan Engineering Endowed Scholarship. They also happened to be present for a very special unveiling, as Mid America Motorworks founder and Chief Cheerleader Mike Yager introduced the Corvette GTP, on permanent loan from the Hendrick Motorsports collection.
The GTP at the MY Garage Museum is one of only seven produced for General Motors to test and develop the V6 engine program and to participate in the International Motor Sports Association racing series. Rick Hendrick sent the car from his personal collection in North Carolina all the way to Effingham, Ill., to celebrate the 20th Annual Corvette Funfest, the 40th Anniversary of Mid America Motorworks and the 60th Anniversary of the Corvette.
“It was a great surprise to see Hendrick Motorsports pull in to our drive! I want to thank Rick Hendrick, Jim Perkins and their entire team – I am elated and PROUD to welcome my number 1, all time favorite car in Corvette's rich, 60-plus year history, the GTP,” Yager said.
Designed by Lola Cars, Inc. in the U. K. for General Motors, the Corvette GTP was based on the T600 chassis, incorporating a body shape that recalled the style lines of the Corvette. The front end was reminiscent of the C4 body and a long, pontoon style tail was finished with Corvette taillights. It entered the IMSA series in 1985 to compete with Porsche, Jaguar, Nissan and Mazda, earning several pole positions and winning Road Atlanta and Palm Beach in 1986.
Ryan Falconer’s 3.4 liter turbocharged V6 Chevrolet engine for the T710 chassis was an integral part of the car’s structure. Tucked between the GTP’s rear wheels, the V6 engine featured many components – rocker arms, pistons and firewall – found in Chevrolet’s venerated small block V8. The V6 was also unique in that it was fabricated with off-the-shelf components as opposed to more costly designs commonly found in racing. Falconer’s engine was a destroked version of the 4.3 liter Chevrolet V6 to keep it in line with IMSA GTP rules stating that a stock block V6 was allowed to displace only 209 cubic inches, compared to the standard 229 cubic inches.
A second chassis design, T711, featured a 5.7 liter naturally aspirating V8 engine and was the first Corvette GTP to race under Lee Racing, debuting at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Until Chevrolet entered the IMSA series, GTPs with aspirated V8 or turbocharged V6 engines were seen mostly affiliated with privateer teams.
General Motors canceled funding for the GTP series at the close of the 1988 season, just as the teams were becoming more consistent. Hendrick Motorsports raced five of the seven GTPs from 1985 to 1988. The Corvette GTP at Mid America Motorworks’ MY Garage Museum is on loan as part of the permanent display.
About MY Garage
The MY Garage Museum & Retail Store is home to a bevy of rare and one-off Corvettes and Classic Volkswagens from the Yager Family collection. From prototype, rare and racing cars to those featured in films, MY Garage Museum & Retail Store is home to a truly one-of-a-kind collection. The Museum also houses literally thousands of pieces of automotive collectibles and memorabilia, showcases an authentic 1910 gas station that was moved and restored on-site, and offers Mid America Motorworks’ full line of parts and accessories. The MY Garage Museum is open seven days a week with free public admission. Cameras welcome.
About Mid America Motorworks
Mid America Motorworks offers quality aftermarket parts and accessories for Corvette and Air-Cooled VW enthusiasts. For more information on Mid America Motorworks or to request a free catalog, call 1-800-500-1500 or shop online at www.mamotorworks.com. For details on Corvette Funfest 2014, slated for Sept. 18-21, visit www.corvettefunfest.com.